Know Your Natives: White Mistflower

Know Your Natives: White Mistflower

This drought-tolerant perennial has unique characteristics that set it apart from other mistflowers. And once established, white mistflower can hold its own through the toughest weather.

Mistflowers have a well-deserved reputation as important pollinator plants. When they bloom they are covered in many tiny flowers that prove irresistible to nectar seeking insects.

While many people are familiar with more commercially common mistflowers that come in blue like Gregg’s mistflower and fragrant mistflower, white mistflower is a slightly overlooked relative that I think deserves a little more attention.

White mistflower has some unique characteristics that set it apart from other mistflowers and allow it to fill roles that the others cannot. To start, it is evergreen, so it requires less trimming than Gregg’s and fragrant do when they die back during freezes. Also, the evergreen nature means it can be a mainstay of your landscape year-round, providing seasonal interest and a backdrop for smaller plants.

Leave white mistflower plenty of room, since each shrub can grow up to six feet in the best locations and make sure you have well drained soils. This plant is native to the Edward’s Plateau, so once it is established, this drought tolerant perennial will be able to hold its own through the toughest weather.

In the wild, white mistflower is often seen growing in the shade of live oaks and junipers. Want a preview? They are blooming right now at Crownridge Canyon Park and Eisenhower Park.

While Gregg’s mistflower generally gets the nod for attracting the most butterflies, white mistflower has important habitat benefits as well. The flowers are prolific and will cover the shrub in a blanket of white. It begins blooming in October just in time for migrating monarchs, and the flowers also provide nectar for all pollinators from hummingbirds to tiny solitary bees. The flowers continue to bloom longer than other mistflowers — sometimes until December — providing a much needed resource for wild pollinators long after most other flowers have gone dormant for the year.

Some years white mistflower might also grace your yard with an impromptu spring bloom. To top it all off, white mistflower is also a host plant for the Rawson’s Metalmark butterfly.

If you’re looking to build or improve a butterfly garden consider white mistflower. It’s a drought tolerant, beautiful plant that grows well in shade or sun and retains its leaves through the winter. Bonus: White mistflower is a Watersaver Landscape Coupon plant!

In my opinion, this plant should be a mainstay of San Antonio landscapes.

Ask the Garden Geek

Need Tips for your garden or have questions about conservation? Ask an Expert!

Send a question
Cleveland Powell

About our expert

Cleveland Powell

Cleveland Powell is a conservation consultant for SAWS. He is enthusiastic about grass taxonomy and milkweed propagation. In his free time, Powell enjoys hiking around area parks in search of intriguing bugs, birds and plants.